I should just leave it at that. I finished. That's it.
But, really, how fun is that? Let me whine for awhile about how miserable 13.1 miles can be.
Quick backstory: The Minneapolis Half is part of The Team Ortho Series. Great organization that is known for their gear and fun races. They offer a package deal that is basically 4 HMs for less than the price of 3. Sign me up! Well, because of my schedule there were only 3 I wanted to do and I added in this one.
A friend said she would buy the bib, but then realized she had a conflict. I thought, what the heck? I'll do it!
I followed no training plan. End of the school year packing and wrap-ups had left me with little thought about this race. My head was not in the game.
And then me and the kids got sick. Hacking coughs that led to poor sleep all week. I ran 6 on Wednesday and I felt great, so I wasn't worried. My body felt fine, but the cough was getting annoying and painful. Then I spent Saturday in Urgent Care with my daughter. Ear infection. My own hacking continued to get worse. I thought about skipping the race all together, but once DD took the antibiotics she was fine and my sister came over for a babysitting slumber party and promised me they'd be fine.
Race morning: very very cold for June, but perfect weather for a run. I didn't feel horrible so I thought I could go for it. Silly me.
A goal: 1:49
B goal: 1:52
I started in my normal spot, right in front of the 2 hour pacer. DH reminded me that this was not an "A race" and to just have fun. We were in a beautiful park in Minneapolis and I was excited to run a new route. The first mile was fine. I didn't feel good, my lungs already hurt a little, but whatever.
mile 1: 8:32 a little faster than I wanted to be with a warm up, but we were on a long, even, straight road = quick pace
and that road continued so
mile 2 & 3 dipped to 7:50s. My legs felt fine and they were just moving. It was my chest, lungs, throat, hacking cough that were killing me. But I foolishly thought that I could handle it for 13 point 1 freaking miles. I thought I could power through and reminded myself that the faster I ran, the faster I'd be done. Good idea, in theory.
At mile 4 there was the 1st medical tent and I contemplated walking off. This feels horrible. I am having no fun whatsoever. I don't need this race. f*&^ it.
But then I thought about the medal and I wanted that sucker. I thought about the logistics of getting to the finish line and finding DH and telling him I gave up. I am not a quitter. I'm stronger (or stupider) than that.
mile 5: 8:07 and I am right with the 1:50 pacer. What?! How am I doing this when I feel so horrible? Maybe I should slow down. Yeah, slow down. And I told myself to take a GU. That was my plan. But I couldn't. The thought made me want to puke. So I kept running and forced myself not to cry. It hurt to breathe.
mile 6: made myself pull over to the right after a water station and take a GU. I wasn't even walking. I came to a complete stand still, closed my eyes, and gave myself a pep talk.
mile 7: 8:36 This sucks. This sucks. This sucks. I love racing! And this totally sucks. The race started at 6:30 so there was minimal crowd support. I wasn't high fiving kids. I didn't have the energy to chat with other runners. I was miserable. We were running down more straightaways. Very few hills. People were passing me left and right. And I didn't even care. I couldn't look for girls in cute outfits to pick off like I normally do. I couldn't go to my positive zen running makes everything in life manageable place. Things were not good. And then they got worse.
mile 8: 8:47 noooo! I started to walk. No offense to Gallowayers. This is only my personal rule for racing. No walking. It will only take me longer to get to the finish line. And once I start to walk it is super hard to get going again. Come on. Run. Make up a C goal. It's called FINISH the flippin race.
Mile 9 &10: I don't even want to talk about it.
Mile 11: Hallelujah for mile 11. Suddenly I heard a band, like a real high school marching band. My spirits lifted. And then I saw them. And they were adorable! On top of a huge hill that we rounded and ran down. yipeeeee! I waved like a wild woman and grinned down the hill. I'm back. Let's go. And luckily for me the course then took us through some of the prettiest places in Minneapolis. Running over the Stone Arch Bridge was breathtaking. The Mississippi as far as you can see on both sides. I stretched my arms out and pretended I could feel the spray.
Mile 12: 8:59 and I didn't even care. I was running down St. Anthony Main on a cobblestone road. It hurt but I was going to finish.
Mile 13.1 This was the first race that I didn't sprint down the finisher's chute. I was doing everything I could not to cough up a lung. I saw DH waiting for me and, unfortunately, I couldn't even smile.
1:54:15 8:42 pace
Not what I wanted, but not so bad either. I got the medal. I get to wear the cute Finisher tee with pride.
If I had started slower, would I have had a better second half?I don't think so. My legs aren't even sore today. But who knows? Maybe I should have toughed it out and stuck with the 1:50 pacer. I've never run with a pacer before, maybe the energy would have carried me along. But probably not? Ahhhh, the mind games we can play with ourselves...
What I do know is that I powered through. It wasn't pretty. It wasn't fun. It wasn't a powerful, meaningful, positive racing experience. And that's OK. That can't all be PRs. Running isn't all sunshine and rainbows.
Of course, I think I would've PRed had I been healthy. This was a speedy course. So you know what that means: I'm running it next year! And I will look back and remember how I powered through a horrible, no good, very bad run.